The potential tax hit for those who grabbed a swag bag at the Oscars on Sunday. The IRS considers these fancy giveaways as income and can collect taxes based on the value of the gifts, which is estimated to be somewhere around $100,000. The gift bag includes luxury vacation packages, cosmetics, clothes, and high-tech gadgets.


Rough Riders? Congressional appropriators are trying to finish writing the FY 2018 omnibus spending bill this week. Some sections, like transportation and commerce, are done, while others are still baking. Lawmakers are hoping to introduce the legislation early next week, which will give them several days to debate and pass the package before the March 23 government-funding deadline. But don’t be surprised if Congress ends up cutting it close.

The FY 2018 omnibus would fund the federal government through the remainder of the fiscal year. As with almost all must-pass legislation, the omnibus will likely include unrelated policy riders, such as a fix for Sec. 199A.

Sec. 199A provides a deduction that incents farmers to sell their crops to agricultural co-ops rather than other companies. Non-cooperatives have argued that the deduction places them at a competitive disadvantage. The Tax Policy Update team expects the fix (which will be retroactive) to make it into the omnibus.

Lawmakers are also talking about adding provisions to address telecom, healthcare (i.e. the Alexander-Murray market stabilization bill), and the online sales tax. Democrats are already warning Republicans against sneaking in any poison-pill riders, which could jeopardize the bill’s passage. That said, a shutdown is unlikely as congressional leaders are determined to get the omnibus done as soon as possible.